Kinneddar was the residence (or Bishop's Palace) of the bishops of Moray from c.1187 and whose first documented incumbent was Bishop Richard (1187–1203). Very little of the structure now remains but the site is protected as a scheduled ancient monument.
Kinneddar was one of the major ecclesiastical centres of the Picts, with radiocarbon dating showing activity on the site from the 7th century through to its first appearance in documentary records in the 12th century, and possible activity as early as the late 6th century. Kinneddar was the source of an important collection of carved Pictish stones, the 32 fragments representing parts of ten cross-slabs, three free-standing crosses and at least eight panels from stone shrine-chests. The Pictish sculptures found in the vicinity of the castle and kirkyard point to the area being an important 8th century Christian centre and may have been a principal location for the conversion of the Picts.
Kinneddar was adopted as the cathedral of the Diocese of Moray by Richard de Lincoln while he was Bishop of Moray between 1187 and 1203. Bishop Archibald enlarged or rebuilt the castle in c. 1280 and it continued to be used by the bishops until the late 14th century. The palace was attacked and burned by Robert the Bruce and David de Moravia in 1308, but was repaired and recorded as the residence of Bishop Alexander Bur in 1383. The palace remained the head of the barony of Kinneddar until 1451, when all nine baronies held by the Bishops of Moray were combined into a single barony headed by Spynie, and from 1462 Bishop David Stewart may have used stone from the now-redundant palace at Kinneddar in his building of the David Tower at Spynie Palace.
Nothing now exists of the castle except one fragment of a rubble wall that is integrated into the Kinneddar kirkyard boundary wall.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.